January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Job Searching in Tough Economic Times

Posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2011

by Donna Ross

This column will reach many preservice teachers just as you are finishing your credential programs and applying for jobs. Unfortunately, this is not the easiest job market. However, there are always some teaching jobs available and you should strive to market yourself as effectively as possible. This column highlights a few suggestions.

If you are still in your student teaching placement, be sure to invite the school administrators to observe your teaching. Assuming you are doing excellent work, this is an opportunity to showcase your skills. Be sure to thank the administrator in writing for visiting your class. If you have enough contact and the opportunity arises, you may be able to ask the administrator for a letter of recommendation. However, even if there is not a formal recommendation, administrators talk among themselves. Imagine the value of the principal describing your brilliant lesson to a principal at another school who just learned of a position opening up due to a retirement at her school.

Volunteer for extra activities. The science education community is small. Those who participate attract positive notice. Administrators want teachers who are dedicated to making a difference for their students. In most communities, if multiple people were asked to identify which teachers are involved in science school-community partnerships, the same names will be consistently listed. You want to be part of that list for two reasons: because you will be involved in exciting opportunities for students and because administrators will think of you when they are looking for employees.

Seek other paths to become familiar with schools and districts. If your schedule allows, try working as a substitute at a variety of sites. This will permit you the opportunity to become known by many teachers. It will also allow you the chance to see which schools fit best with your teaching philosophy. Again, if you have enough contact with an administrator or teacher at a site, you may be able to get a letter of recommendation, but equally important are the verbal recommendations among colleagues.

Identify and prepare brief examples that demonstrate your excellence in the field. Make sure that you have a high quality manner of presenting these examples to potential employers. The key words here are brief and excellence. It is better to have several short examples than one long one. This is basic marketing. The first step is to interest future employers. Then you will have time later to go into more depth about your philosophy.

Practice interview techniques. Many universities have career placement offices that offer videotaped mock interview sessions. These can be invaluable training opportunities, particularly in a tight job market when one poorly answered interview question might be all that separates you from the next candidate. If your university does not offer these services, a group of friends role-playing an interview panel can provide some of the same support.

When looking for jobs, search regularly on district websites, individual school websites (particularly for charter, alternative, magnet, and private schools), and network with people. For example, faculty members at your university often hear of local job openings. If you have a student CSTA chapter or other organization, stay in contact. Timing can be important. For example, if a job opening is casually mentioned at a meeting, a faculty member is more likely to pass along your information if he or she just saw you at an event and was reminded that you are looking for a similar position.

Don’t forget the basics of any job search. Dress and behave professionally, be polite and respectful, and always thank those involved in the process. Complete paperwork neatly and accurately. Consider widening your geographic search area. Be sure that all electronic communication is appropriate, including any social media that might be accessible to the public. Employers do check.

Most importantly, become involved in the professional community. The more well known you are in the field for your ideas and experience with science education activities, the more employers will seek you. Even in tight job markets, there are usually people who have multiple job offers. Ultimately, this allows you to choose the best fit for your teaching style and philosophy. Best wishes to you all.

Donna Ross is associate professor of science education at San Diego State University and is CSTA’s 4-year college director.

Written by Donna Ross

Donna Ross is Associate Professor of Science Education at San Diego State University.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.